Men thrown from jet-ski prompts rescue op

| 03/08/2009

(CNS): A major search and rescue operation was instigated on Saturday afternoon (August 1) after a jet-ski driver and his passenger fell off as they rode through a heavy rain squall in the North sound. One of the brothers was missing at sea for around three hours but he was eventually found by a DoE vessel unharmed. Police said both men had been drinking and the driver had been unable to give an exact location as to where he lost his brother hampering the search, however, with the help of a community effort police said all ended happily.

The jet-ski driver reported the incident to the 911 Emergency Communications Centre at around 1.50pm, he told operators he and his brother had been thrown from a Wave Runner and his brother had been missing for approximately 45 minutes. The joint Customs, Immigration and Police Maine Unit and the Department of Environment were dispatched to carry out searches on the water and police officers were deployed to conduct enquiries on land.

Officers were told that the man and his brother had been travelling from Morgan’s Harbour to Kaibo on a Jet Ski when they hit a heavy rain squall and were thrown from the machine. He said he looked for his brother but could not find him so he travelled to shore to raise the alarm. Both men had been drinking that day and an exact location of where the brother had last been seen could not be given.

DoE and Maine Officers carried out a search and rescue operation across the North Sound and around 4.20pm the missing man was located by a DoE vessel approximately one mile and half North West of Booby Cay. The 30-year-old victim was taken to shore by Cayman Defender where he was met by an ambulance and assessed by medics. He was unhurt and did not need to be taken to hospital.

“We are extremely pleased that this young man was found safe and well,” said Inspector Brad Ebanks of the Maine Unit. “Our search and rescue capabilities were tested and I am pleased to say that both we and the Department of Environment performed well. The assistance offered by the public should also not go unnoticed – we had many people volunteer to assist with the search and for this we are extremely grateful. We saw a real community spirit on Saturday.”

Inspector Ebanks also noted that both men had been drinking that day and stressed the importance of being of sober mind when on the water. “On this occasion the man was very lucky,” he said. “Finding him was hindered by the fact the brother did not know where he had fallen off the Wave Runner. There is no doubt that this slowed down the rescue.”

Jet Ski users are reminded to have safety in mind at all times. The following advice is issued by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service:

 Always wear a life vest – preferably fluorescent or bright in colour.

 Never operate a personal water craft under the influence of alcohol.

 Learn how to operate the machine before you use it.

 Never ride close to other water craft and be aware of what is happening around you. Being aware will help you avoid a collision.

 Never ride a personal water craft without a lanyard and always connect it to your body.

Always let someone know where you are going and your estimated time of return.

Check the weather before venturing out. Conditions can change quickly at this time of year.

Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I hope these people are arrested and face criminal charges and a record for this dangerous behaviour. It is not only the cost of the operation involved, but what kind of justice sytem do we have if the police decide ad hoc who to prosecute, ruining some people’s future livlihood for extermely judgmental cases when all were sober and the captain chose to take the safest option by calling for assistance, when there are clear cut dangerous cases like this where no -one gets any punishment/future loss of earning potential due to a criminal record. It is not right that in some instances they consider it a ‘rescue’ effort and place no blame when they ruin other peoples lives by pressing charges. Way to turn honest people into dishonest people and encourage truly dangerous and drunken people to get away with whatever they please.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Confiscation of property as an immediate response isn’t the right direction to take this. In the case of negligent behaviour or willful stupidity, whichever the case may be here, the individuals should be held responsible for the total costs of the rescue operation. In many countries, when emergency services are activated, there is always a follow-up investigation to determine if there is enough level of "fault" by the victims to warrant their being charged to lessen the burden on the state and taxpayers for the idiocy of a few. If two drunken men fall off their watercraft driving it through a squall, they should be billed for the rescue effort. If two sober men are caught in a freak accident, they should not be held liable for costs. Send them the bill, and if they can’t pay, then you can confiscate and auction their various assets to recoop emergency service costs incurred. Stupidity is stupidity, and while people like these men might never learn or change their ways, at least they won’t be as much a waste of money as they are of oxygen.

  3. Anonymous says:

    stupid stupid stupid

  4. Anonymous says:

    Don’t limit this to just waverunners. What about all those boats at rum point on a Sunday?!? Unless the police think the boaters out there are drinking tea!

    • clearviewer says:

      Yes I agree that no one should operate a water craft be it boat or waverunner etc under the influence, That said the police should on any given sunday be at kaibo or rumpoint and they will make a lot of arrest, drunken people loud music especially at rumpoint, sometimes when they get ready to leave they are so drunk that they stumble all over the place some cant even get back on their  boat.   Rumpoint residents cant enjoy a nice afternoon for all the people and noise. I can sympathise with them and I know a lot of locals that say that they leave their homes on sunday to get away from it.  So the police need to pay more attention to that area too.Drunk driving ,boat or car is dangerous.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Given that those in the public service put their lives on the line rescuing people who do stupid things, and also given our country’s economic circumstances, perhaps it is time for government to start recovering the cost of such rescues from those who place others at risk by their own negligent actions. Why should struggling Caymanian tax payers have to pay for this type of stupidity? My suggestion would be to start by passing a law which would allow the emergency services to seize vessels, including jet-skis, and if people were found to have been operating them while intoxicated or operating them in a dangerous manner, then the vessels should be forfeited and sold at auction with government keeping the money. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    I hope the police are prosecuting the riders of the PWC. It’s about time some action was taken regarding PWC users. Presumably, if they were riding at high speed in a squall and fell off then they couldn’t see where they were going either, which could have lead to a high speed collision with another vessel, or worse still people in the water.